Monday, December 19, 2011

N.Y. Giants ~ Big Blue's Cross-Hairs of Blame

From the desk of:   DO IT FOR THE DUKE

NEW YORK GIANTS FOOTBALL:  A Colossal Failure Like Sunday's Puts The Coordinators of This Team Squarely in the Cross-Hairs of Blame.... And Maybe More Than That.

Watching the game I wondered, if given a chance what more could the Giants have done wrong?  How much more pathetically can they have played?  If only given more time, how much worse can they have looked?  I thought how on this Big Blue planet could the Giants look that inept?  From the Head Coach on down through every level of planning and execution on the field, the Giants were about as unprepared to compete Sunday afternoon as I've ever witnessed under Tom Coughlin.  By the third quarter, all the reason Giant Fans had left to jeer cheer was making sure their team was playing-up to the best of their futility.  Because by then, all the damage against them had been done.

On full display Sunday afternoon, in front of the home crowd and in a most embarrassing manner, the Giants played with a very unsettling lack of gumption accompanied by an astonishingly high degree of lethargy and apathy.  This ultimately falls squarely on the shoulders of Head Coach Tom Coughlin.  For that, he's guilty as charged.  For this was by far the worst loss of season and of Tom Coughlin's regime; of which, there are numerous games to choose from, playoffs or otherwise.

But what I really would like to know before moving on and verbally accosting this team's effort is, who the hell does Tom Coughlin have upstairs advising him when to challenge calls and throw the red flag?  Dick Dastardly?  Benedict Arnold?  Deep Throat?  Stevie Wonder?  Who?  Tell me!  Tell us all!  Expose this person because he or she is a blind or cock-eyed fool and should have been replaced no later than midnight Sunday with someone who has even reasonable eye-sight!  Lately, this person has done nothing but cost us precious time-outs.  The Challenge was once a strength of Coughlin's.  But lately his decisions to throw the red flag have become as weak a link as every other link in a long chain of Giant weaknesses.  Now stressed to it's absolute limit, all the underachievement perpetrated by this team lately is about to cause the chain suspending Big Blue's hopes for the playoffs to snap.

We root for teams in a new age of football; a new millennium.  We live in times that perhaps "The Duke" Wellington Mara, and the founder of our beloved Giants; Tim Mara; would stubbornly refuse to understand much less be apt to do something rash or something born of haste, impatience, or frustration.  John Mara is much the same way evidenced by the Giants' last contract extension given to Tom Coughlin on the heals of an utterly disappointing end to the previous season.  The Giants are about stability.  And in John Mara, the apple didn't fall far from the Family tree.

When his Father's team, and his Grand-Father's team before that, do not perform up to the Family's standards John Mara still holds close and dear today; and who works very diligently to continually uphold and promote; John Mara knows how to react smartly.  I'm very sure he feels pain just like we Fans do.  John may have never played the game, but the Mara's know football.  It's the Family's business.  And so heads will roll for this one.  Take that to the bank.

I say to you now; this game will have it's ramifications and repercussions.  For on this Sunday in particular, with well over five minutes left in the fourth quarter, Met-Lifeless Stadium was near empty.  And for that, I assure you, John Mara is pissed!  The void left in the seats also made the remaining scattered fans much more audible over the TV.  And what they were saying should only be repeated once kids have been put safely to bed and when the easily-offended have left the room.  Giant fans?  Pffft - we were just waiting to be put anywhere if only out of our misery.  We may not hear about it.  But Mr. Mara is going to have his say before next Saturday's game against the Jets.

Even still, by some kind of other-worldly intervention, the Giants still control their destiny. Win the last two games of the season against the Jets and Dallas, and Giants are in the playoffs.  It's as simple as that.  But after Sunday's scalping at the hands of the Redskins, who has faith that this demoralizing Giants team can play well into January now?  What from Sunday's performance could possibly inspire such an optimistic thought?  For six consecutive weeks now, they've done everything in their power to convince us otherwise.

However, extending the Giants' season now with a playoff birth will only delay the inevitable.  Coaches will be fired this off-season.  How many and which ones are yet to be determined.  But mark my words, Jerry Reese and John Mara will most certainly agree to a man, heads must roll after playing such a lack-luster game at such a critical point in their season to what most believed was an inferior Redskins team.  Because Sunday's game was the kind of effort that gets players, coaches, and sometimes General Managers made examples of.

There are two Coordinators I believe are chiefly responsible for much of what we saw, or didn't see, Sunday afternoon.  The two coordinators; Kevin Gilbride and Perry Fewell; finally synced up their efforts and combined forces to lead the Giants to their most colossal loss of the season.  With equally confounding game plans Big Blue's effort Sunday was sabotaged from within; from within the locker room; from within the film room; from within the class room; you name it.  This game was lost in the planning stage.  Simply put, both coordinators failed this team miserably.

The old greedier side of Kevin Gilbride chose the absolute wrong time to finally make his grand debut of the 2011 season.  They don't call him Kevin Kill-Drive for nothing.  Well....Sunday he made it all about him again by resorting to his ancient quest for the perfect pass.  For the most part, he was doing a decent job this season with his implementation of the running game.  He seemed somewhat reformed even in the face of injuries to the O-Line and to Ahmad Bradshaw.  But all that matters not today.  After Sunday, Kevin Gilbride must be held accountable for his part in this GIANT debacle.

After securing an interception off Washington's first play from scrimmage, Kevin Gilbride called for three very uninspiring short-range passes which resulted in a three-and-out.  C'mon, Kevin!  If you wanted to start the game aggressively, rule of thumb in that situation is to go deep.  You want a quick strike and a quick lead?  I get it.  But three intermediate passes to start the game without trying to establish the run first is ass-backwards!

Our second possession was a four-and-out.  After coming down with a second interception off Rex Grossman, the Offense came back out on the field and retreated right back to the sidelines after another three-and-out.  That was just the first quarter.  The Giants first possession of the second quarter and their fourth of the game lasted two plays!  Yet again, Kevin Gilbride called for more passing.  A completion for a first down was followed by Eli's first INT of the day.  Their fifth possession called for even more passing and resulted in a five-and-out; with a penalty thrown in against Manningham.  The Giants' final possession of the first half was all passing once again which stalled and resulted in a field goal.  That turned out to be their only points of the day.

In the first half, Kevin Gilbride called on Eli seventeen times.  The Giants ran 22 plays while Washington totalled 40 plays in the first half alone.  So you do the math!  Kevin Gilbride chose to run the ball all of five times the entire first half!!!  Jacobs was called on three times and two plays went to Bradshaw.  THIS...coming off a week in which Brandon Jacobs ran for 101 yards on 19 carries the week before, with over sixty of those yards coming in the first half against Dallas.

While the sputtering Offence ignored the run, ten incompleted passes kept the clock frozen in time.  As a result, the Giants maintained possession for a paltry 9:34, while Washington held on to the ball for 20:26 during the first half.  The Giants also kept punter-Steve Weatherford busy with four punts as the Offense went 0 for 4 on third down conversions.

The Giants' second play from scrimmage to start the third quarter was another pass which resulted in Eli's second interception of the day.  Only then..., and only as a matter of recourse, after only six running plays all game, or maybe even at the urging of Coach Coughlin (who knows..),  did Kevin Gilbride finally turn to the running game in earnest; or desperation.  The Third Quarter!  Only after going down 17-3; only after two interceptions; only after eighteen pass attempts with poor completion results and dropped passes...  Only after all that, did he finally, and too late may I add, turn to the running game and basically blow the entire third quarter trying to do so and in the process wasting much time off the clock.  That's what he should have been doing in the first half!

This man knows nothing about ball and clock control, and even less about what smash-mouth football means.  All that matters to him is that he continues to lead the league in most attempted yards per pass.  The not-so-old Kevin Gilbride, who was behaving this season, reappeared Sunday.  And on his side of the ball he made us look bad by design.  His usual want to set up the run with the pass has always been a point of contention.  After the running game had a break through the week prior, Sunday's blatant disregard for the running game is inexcusable.  And for that!....he must be held accountable.  What the hell does this team pay it's backfield for?  And I haven't even begun discussing his naked screen passes yet!

If Kevin Gilbride waited till the third quarter to run the ball, then Defensive Coordinator Perry Fewell waited till the 4th quarter to finally run a stunt with JPP and unleash a blitz.  There has been no blitzing the last few weeks.  Frankly, things look a lot more like former Def. Coord. Bill Sheridan's read-and-react failure.  There is no sense of attack to the Giants Defense these days.  The vaunted pass rush has all but disappeared.  The Defense recorded one sack against Rex Grossman.  Additionally, Perry Fewell's unit still does not understand how to play zone defense for him.  The only answer Coach Fewell had for defending the Redskins was to bench the rookie, Prince Amukamara.  That is so weak.  All one needs to know is the Giants were abysmal stopping the Redskins on third down and CHINA to go....again!  Washington's overall offensive stats don't do them any justice.  The final score was 23-10, but it seemed so much more worse than that.

On a day when the Chiefs handed Green Bay their first defeat of the season, and the Colts secured the first win of theirs, Washington was still busy rushing for first downs against the Giants' defense with 5:00 left in the game.  That's what you call hanging your head in defeat before the finish.  And for that, Perry Fewell must be held accountable.

Below the coordinators, this game was just a failure on all levels.  The Offensive Line was guilty of penalties that took points off the board and they couldn't protect their quarterback on a fourth and goal play.  Dropped passes also took points off the board.  Eli threw three interceptions, and we fumbled the ball once; but recovered that.  Then there was a failure to convert Redskin turnovers into points.  Even on special teams - they botched an on-side kick attempt due to a penalty and missed a field goal.  There were still breakdowns on Secondary coverage.

Bright sides?  Jason Pierre Paul continued to shine and Steve Weatherford had another stellar day punting the ball.  And to my great dismay, after just five rushes in the first half, the running game ended the day rushing the ball 18 times for 91 yards.  And then you wonder why I'm so upset?

This was indeed a total team effort, and a colossal failure on all levels.


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